Panel 2: Moviemaking Strategies

1 December 2012, NAB 326, 13.30-15.00 || Chaired by Rachel Moore

Behind the Scenes of Autodesk Maya

Aylish Wood, University of Kent

There are many visible digital spaces, and they are often seen on-screen: computer generated and manipulated entities and environments that inhabit the moving image world. But there is another side to digital space, one that remains more intangible as it exists out of reach behind and beyond the screens through which digital constructions appear. One example of such a digital space is associated with software, and as Kitchen and Dodge (2011) argue ‘software matters because it alters the conditions through which society, space, and time, and thus spatiality, are produced (13).’ In the world of moving image production, Autodesk Maya is pre-eminent amongst 3D animation packages. It is used in the visual effects, advertising, and television industries, science visualizations and the games sector. This paper presents a study of Autodesk Maya that is informed by software studies (Kirschenbaum, 2008; Parikka, 2011). With a complex interface for users, and an output of images variously rendered for games, narratives, information and adverts, the computer and software tend to be taken as nonvisual and transparent (Chun, 2011). A closer look at the user interface of Autodesk Maya reveals that it offers a hybrid space. The more familiar 3D space of objects that become drawn into the realities of fictions, coexist with intangible spaces configured by software processes and procedures. The latter are understood through a range of texts: interviews carried out with users of the interface within different industrial sectors, training and publicity materials, as well as looking at the software directly. Thinking procedurally adds another register to debates about digital entities. Not only can we think about how we digitally construct variations on our world, but also how digital spaces coexist beside our more familiar ones and shape their possibilities.

Aylish Wood is a Reader at the University of Kent. She has published articles in Screen, New Review of Film and Video, Film Criticism and Animation: an Interdisciplinary Journal. She has studied images of science and technology (Technoscience in Contemporary American Film, 2002). Her book Digital Encounters (2007) is a cross media study of digital technologies in cinema, games and installation art. She is currently working on an Arts and Humanities Research Fellowship to look at the intersections between software and the production of moving images. This study encompasses games, animations, visual effects cinema, and science visualizations.

Exploring Creativity in Film Subtitling

Rebecca McClarty, Queen's University Belfast

Film subtitling has typically adopted a one-size-fits-all approach that adheres to norms and conventions rather than the individual style of the film text. Although subtitles have occasionally been used for specific stylistic purposes, as in Desperanto (Rozema, 1992), Man on Fire (Scott, 2004) and La Antena (Sapir, 2007), such aesthetic practices have rarely impacted upon interlingual film subtitling – perhaps with the exception of Bekmambetov’s Night Watch (2004). Similar uses of screen typography have also begun to emerge in television, most notably in BBC shows such as Sherlock (2010-2012) and The Good Cook (2011). However, as in the case of films, the emerging use of creative screen typography in television has not yet influenced the normative nature of the professional subtitling practice.

This paper will seek to explore the potential for creative forms of subtitling in film translation. By drawing upon examples from the Spanish film Camino (Fesser, 2008) – for which creative subtitles were produced as part of my Practice as Research PhD – this paper will demonstrate that subtitles may become an extension of the film text, reflecting the film’s visual style, verbal rhythm and characterisation. Rather than imposing a normative, constrained practice, therefore, creative subtitling offers a flexible approach wherein the style of the subtitles is dictated by the style of the film itself. Having considered the creative subtitling method, this paper will then analyse the reception of these subtitles by an English-speaking audience. Through quantitative eye tracking data and qualitative focus group discussions, this analysis measures the audience’s experience of the subtitles and the levels of cognitive processing required for the subtitles’ reception. In this way, this paper will call into question the theoretical grounding of current norm-based subtitling practices and open the path for future explorations of creativity in film subtitling.

Rebecca McClarty completed her undergraduate degree in French and Spanish at Queen's University Belfast in 2008. She began a Masters in Translation in the same year, allowing her to research the translation of multilingual films in a dissertation entitled When Words Alone Achieve Nothing: the Translation of Salvador Puig Antich. After working as an in-house translator, Rebecca returned to Queen's to begin her PhD in October 2010. Her practice-based thesis, entitled Film and Translation: the Art of Subtitling draws on concepts from both Translation and Film Studies in order to suggest a new turn towards a stylised, creative form of subtitling that responds to the individual characteristics of a given film text.

The trip as a script: mobility as a tool for creation in artist's cinema

Miro Soares, Sourbonne University

The journey has always been a source of inspiration explored in many different ways in films from all over the world. The list of these productions is so vast that road movie has become a genre in cinema. In most cases, the itineraries of the trip appear not only as the place for the story but as a main character. Eventually it is also an element that would open up a space in the script making room for improvisation in the film.

In artist’s cinema, which can be generally understood as a specific segment in moving images based on principles of both production and distribution much more related to art, documentary and experimental cinema than the usual cinema industry, the journey – more than a source of inspiration – can become an active tool for creation. It places the artists in a modified state of mind and of contact with the environment around him. The artists can then make use of this condition to produce artworks expressing a personal, critical and poetic point of view about the world.

Here I intent to analyze aspects of audiovisual productions connected to the issue of mobility and, therefore, to the context of globalization, of liberal global market and of cultural transnationalism. These works are part of a specific segment in art in which the displacement, the journey, and/or the walk itself assume a major role in the creative process. They are relevant because they push us to reflect on the issue of mobility at the same time that they collaborate to expand the borders in moving images.

Miro Soares holds a MA in Contemporary Art from Grenoble Art School and a MA in Arts and Digital Media from University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, where he is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Arts and Sciences of Art (Scholarship granted by CAPES, Brazil). Visual artist, filmmaker, researcher and traveller, he has been working exploring the concept of art in context. His work has been exhibited in shows and film festivals, including at: Centre Pompidou (France), Amber Festival (Turkey), Oi Futuro and FILE (Brazil). Soares was awarded by the Fundação Bienal de São Paulo, was commissioned by the Centre Pompidou and granted by the Bergen Kommune. He has participated in artistic residences in Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Norway, Germany, Finland and Netherlands.